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Company: Samsung Electronics Canada
Contact: David Mear, Media Supervisor, Cheil Canada
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Industry: Consumer Electronics
Annual revenue: $2,147,500,000
Number of employees: 1700

Quick Read

Getting in the game early and trying something new has its risks—and its advantages.

When Samsung Electronics America introduced a new mobile device in direct competition with the iPhone, the company knew it had to do something novel to generate brand awareness and product consideration.

But tight budgets meant it couldn't just go all out; it had to take a strategic approach. Digital out-of-home media, although unproven, stood out as a new, low-cost channel with potential.

Samsung made digital out-of-home the primary vehicle for the new launch campaign. And by doing so, it achieved stellar brand-awareness levels and purchase-consideration ratings.


Samsung Electronics, the flagship company of South Korea-based Samsung Group, is a leading global electronics company that specializes in TVs, DVDs, MP3 players, video cameras, mobile phones, and more.

In August 2008, the company introduced a new touch-screen smartphone called Instinct in the Canadian market, in direct competition with Apple's iPhone. David Mear, media supervisor at agency Cheil Canada, led the effort for Samsung Electronics America to promote the product launch and earn market share.

Objectives for the marketing campaign included the following:

  • Targeting key geographic areas within the Canadian market to increase audience frequency
  • Increasing brand and product awareness by using breakthrough creative and messaging media
  • Demonstrating the features and user experience (e.g., touch screen) of the new handset
  • Taking a cost-effective approach

"We also wanted to find a new way to get our messaging out there," recalled Mear.


Samsung tried digital out-of-home media: short ad spots interspersed with video content that is played on a closed loop on a network of LCD screens placed in venues such as restaurants, bars, convenience and grocery stores, doctors' offices, transit stations, and taxi cabs.

"We chose digital out-of-home for this campaign because it was cost-effective and allowed us to have far larger reach and impact in terms of reaching out to consumers on a one-to-one basis," said Mear. "We also had certain aspects we wanted to promote—in this case, touch—and digital out-of-home allowed us to showcase those capabilities through motion."

The campaign, which launched late in Summer 2008, was aimed at 25-34-yearolds, with a skew toward the male demographic, in the Canadian urban centers of Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, and Ottawa.

The 15-second ad spot created for this campaign featured an eye-catching, computer-generated mechanical hand composed of various Samsung cell phones, which opened to reveal the new Instinct unit. The spot went on to quickly model the Instinct's frame and highlight its music, video and Web-accessing touch-screen features, before concluding with a branded tagline that read "The new touch smartphone—Get your hands on one."

To secure placement for the ad in appropriate venues, Samsung partnered with digital out-of-home media specialist Adcentricity, which operates the largest aggregated network of digital out-of-home screens in Canada.

Based on the target consumer profile, Adcentricity identified a network of 650 screens in restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and convenience stores within a 30-miles radius of the targeted metropolitan areas. In all, the ad was shown 837,691 times for a total of 1,111,060 audience impressions.


Without Adcentricity's knowledge, Samsung hired Oakville, Ontario-based Pattison to research the level of impact that using digital out-of-home had on purchase consideration among the target market.

Using intercept studies conducted in downtown Toronto around TD Center, Eaton's Center, and The Bay Center at Bloor, Pattison found that the campaign helped Samsung achieve brand-awareness levels in the high 90+% range in the case of aided recall; and unaided brand awareness was 73%, or a whopping 49% more than in the previous year.

In addition, 41% of those polled—and 47% of those polled who recalled the campaign ad—said they would consider purchasing a Samsung cell phone.

"We found digital out-of-home to be very effective in garnering good numbers from the target audience with regard to product consideration," said Mear. The results were so high, in fact, that Pattison and Samsung triple-checked them for accuracy.

The success of digital out-of-home media has encouraged Samsung to use the medium to promote additional launches, including that of its Slide model.

Lessons Learned

Throughout the campaign, the Instinct ad actually received 39% more media play than planned (which helped the results) for a couple reasons:

  • First, because the medium is still new, digital out-of-home networks generally end up with extra ad space that must be filled to complete the loop. So by becoming an early adopter, Samsung positioned itself to not only stand out in the consumer's mind, given the novelty of the experience, but to also earn additional exposure.
  • Second, the creative was eye-catching and fun, which led the network to willingly slip the ad in when extra space was available, since part of its goal is to offer the most engaging experience possible by showcasing good creative.

"It's important to be strategic with the creative...and not repurpose or rehash or force old content into this new medium," Mear said of developing digital out-of-home ads. "You have to understand the consumer, what they want, and what they're doing" while they're being exposed to the ads.

For example, most digital out-of-home screens do not have sound, so the messaging needs to be visually expressive and easy to understand, and it has to have a strong brand presence.

It's also important to consider that you have less time than a typical TV spot—15 seconds compared with the usual 30 or 60 seconds—and that the audience generally has a much shorter attention span since they are going about their day or are out enjoying themselves, and so are not exactly intent on watching ads. Therefore, the visuals must be capable of instantly capturing viewer attention and quickly and effectively delivering your message.

How are you creatively reaching out to your target audience? Email CaseStudies@MarketingProfs.com and share your success story with us.

Related Links

Brand awareness is critical to success. See how companies like COOP Ale Works are thinking outside the box and using sites like Twitter to build their B2B marketing toolbox. Check out our case study, Four Steps to Spurring B2B New-Product Awareness and Sales via Twitter, to learn how COOP Ale Works uses Twitter to generate buzz among potential consumers of its specialty brews—creating a level of demand that retail establishments can't ignore.

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Kimberly Smith is a staff writer for MarketingProfs. Reach her via kims@marketingprofs.com.